“I would never move”
“There was no need to leave”
These are just a couple things that I would say to myself and others as I was growing up. I was very happy in the town that I was raised in. Sure, it had its quirks that would sometimes drive me up a wall but overall, I was happy. Everything that I could have ever needed was right there within my reach. I had built a network of great people and a reputation that had helped to open many doors that younger me would have thought were never possible. My entire family was right there. Friendships that I had been building since I was in elementary school were right there. I was comfortable.
But sometimes, comfortable just isn’t enough.
When Alice and I started dating, we would always talk about what the future would look like. She always mentioned the desire to leave Rome, Georgia but I never quite got it. She was raised by a set of parents that believe moving for an opportunity is no big deal. My parents aren’t as keen on moving away from an entire life that has been built. Of course I had my biases, but I slowly began to realize that neither were right or wrong. Everybody has their own way to pursue life. Still, I didn’t think leaving was really in the cards for us. There were so many things going right that it didn’t make sense for us to move away.
While we were engaged, Alice and I took a couple trips to go “town shopping”. A phrase that seems so harmless. Entertaining even. We talked about North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, New York (her home state), Virginia, other towns in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Kansas (I know.. that one didn’t last long), Tennessee, and Montana might have been mentioned a time or two. Still, after hours of conversation and multiple trips, I still didn’t think we would move. Some of the places we visited seemed exciting, sure, but nothing really jumped out to me. Apparently, the same thing was happening with Alice. She was slowly falling more in love with Rome and the desire to move started to dwindle.
Then we took the trip that changed everything.
We initially were going to go to Cleveland, OH but ended up changing our minds pretty close to the last minute. We changed our flights to Denver, CO. Found a great AirBnB and started packing. We wanted to check out Boulder, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. Alice’s top pick was Boulder and mine was Fort Collins. We stayed in Erie which was a pretty happy middle ground for the area we were visiting. We rented a Dodge Ram in honor of Vic from the TV show Longmire and hit the road. We put over 700 miles on that truck and drove through some really cool areas. Boulder felt too much like a college town, very Athens meets Buckhead vibe (for my Georgia peeps) with the price tag of a San Francisco. Half of Fort Collins was shut down for some sort of biker fest and we had the worst interaction with a server at an Old Chicago. Colorado Springs was very nice but didn’t grab us.
Then we found it: Longmont, Colorado.
A town that took us by surprise. A smaller town than any of the other places that we visited. It had a small town feel with big city amenities. We couldn’t believe it. Neither one of us expected to find this. I think we were both under the impression that we needed to travel and see some other places but both believed we would settle down in Rome. I mean after all, we were comfortable. We had friends and family that were close.
We were sitting outside a coffee shop (I know, cliche as all get out) and we both looked at each other and said, “This is it. This is home.”
We flew back to Georgia and normal life started back up. I applied to a couple dream type jobs and Alice applied to a few more in the Longmont area. We didn’t hear back and eventually the dream simmered down. My thought was, if we get a call back and it happens, then it was meant to be. But the phone didn’t ring. So we refocused on our original plan to find our dream house in Rome and keep on living a simple, southern life.
After 2 months of nothing, I got a call for an interview with the student life department at a community college in Longmont. I couldn’t believe it. I was afraid that since we had already started looking for a house in Rome, I wouldn’t be excited for this opportunity but I was. Alice got to see a side of me that doesn’t come out often: pure excitement. All of the feelings and memories I had of visiting Longmont started coming back. I was beside myself. I went through the interview and was offered the position. I would start work 5 weeks from the time I accepted the job. I couldn’t wait to tell Alice the good news!
Then it hit us, we were contemplating leaving everything behind. What seems like such an easy decision to some took us DAYS to figure out. We tried everything. Coin flipping, percentage games, shouting the first thing that comes to your mind. Then we both decided against going. Finally around 2 am, we decided to stay in Rome and keep building what we had already made so much progress on.
I woke up the next morning and couldn’t believe it. I was so unsettled from our decision made the night before that I almost felt sick. I had let myself forget how memorable Longmont was. I called Alice to share my feelings and she told me she felt the same way. WHAT. How could this happen? We spent HOURS going over every single detail that this move would entail. Everything pointed to us staying but we just weren’t happy with it. Then I was reminded of when I said, “if we get a call back and it happens, then it was meant to be”.
We made the decision to move to Colorado.
Now, I am working at a community college in Longmont, Alice works at a different community college one town over, and we are doing our best to live the dream. What a crazy way to end 2017.